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Full text of "Men Of Mathematics"

ANIMA CANDIDA
when he was absent-for all his lovable family. From his earliest
years he was a timid, diffident soul with a horror of speaking in
public or attracting attention to himself. In later life tb!s
chronic shyness proved a very serious handicap and occa-
sioned him much agonized misery till he overcame it by diligent
preparation for every public utterance he was likely to make.
The engaging bashfulness of Riemann's boyhood and early
manhood, which endeared him to all who met him, was in
strange contrast to the ruthless boldness of his matured scien-
tific thought. Supreme in the world of his own creation, he
realized his transcendent powers and shrank from nobody, real
or imaginary.
"While Riemann was still an infant his father was transferred
to the pastorate of Quickborn. There young Riemann received
his first instruction, from his father, who appears to have been
an excellent teacher. From the very first lessons Bernhard
showed an unquenchable thirst for learning. His earliest
interests were historical, particularly in the romantic and tragic
history of Poland. As a boy of five Bernhard gave his father no
peace about unhappy Poland, but demanded to be told over
and over again the legend of that heroic country's gallant (and
at times slightly fatuous) struggles for liberty and, in the late
Woodrow Wilson's rich, fruity phrase, 'self-determination'.
Arithmetic, begun at about six, offered something less har-
rowing for the sensitive young boy to dwell on. His inborn
mathematical genius now asserted itself. Bernhard not only
solved all the problems shoved at him, but invented more
difficult teasers to exasperate his brother and sisters. Already
the creative impulse in mathematics dominated the boy's
mind. At the age of ten he received instruction in more ad-
vanced arithmetic and geometry from a professional teacher,
one Schulz, a fairly good pedagogue. Schulz soon found himself
following his pupil, who often had better solutions than he.
At fourteen Riemann went to stay with his grandmother at
Hanover, where he entered his first Gymnasium, in the upper
third class. Here he endured his first overwhelming loneliness,
His shyness made ^rr\ the butt of his schoolfellows and drove
him in upon his own resources. After a temporary setback his
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